A Writer Begins (pt1 of an accidental trilogy)

I came to writing late after opting to take a year out from starting University in 1996, which then easily slipped to 18 years out, and I never actually went. The prospect of spending another 3 years surrounded by giddy drama students filled me with no small degree of dread.

I finally undertook a part-time MA in Screenwriting that now dramatically pads out my 4 GCSE Cs, and a BTEC in Performing Arts (& Media Studies, if you’re interested), and of course not forgetting, my Diploma in Dog Psychology (Dip. dog psy.)

Frustratingly I held off writing for about 10 years because I wanted to write with a friend of mine, that I met on the Performing Arts course, who has the greatest comedy mind of anyone I’ve ever met. Alas, it took all of those 10 years to mention it to him, but he’s more than happy meeting the domestic gas supply needs of the great people of the City of Salford.

When I did finally get started it took the form of a sitcom that I submitted straight away to the BBC Comedy Writersroom and was promptly, and rightly, rejected. They only commit to reading the first ten pages and it wasn’t until much later that it became obvious to me that nobody said anything until page 12, and even then to a cat… The guesstimating layout in Word didn’t help my presentation much either as my script looked like it was written during an earthquake. I even managed to squeeze out a feature script, but it wasn’t, and still isn’t very good.

Further reading was clearly necessary, so next stop: Amazon!

I work in an Admin job for a University in Liverpool and wanted to try and exploit my position by blagging some free writing software, because students get all that stuff hurled at them willy-nilly. I fired off an email to one of the lecturers who deal with Creative Writing about my attempts at writing, how I’d written a few bits and wanted to get hold of a copy of Final Draft (the standard software of the Hollywood people). He replied to say he couldn’t help but pointed me at something else and asked whether I’d looked into doing the MA in Screenwriting. I winced, realising I’d clearly overplayed my hand, thanked him for his time but explained that as I’d never gotten around to getting a Bachelor’s, a Master’s would be nice but I don’t have the basic building blocks. Apparently, that didn’t matter, if I’d written a couple of things it was worth applying.

WHATEVER NOISE THE BIG BANG MADE, ECHOED, ONCE AGAIN, INSIDE MY TINY BRAIN.

Was it really possible I could teleport into another dimension where failing to get my arse into gear, and pay attention for 3 years, wasn’t the eternal millstone around my neck?

Could I actually go and formally study the very thing I felt designed to do?

My inner world and my perception of my working future were (and if I’m honest, still pretty much are) hinged on us winning the lottery. Suddenly there appeared to be another path that meant I could do what I do for fun and get a certificate for it that backs up my “I wrote a movie script” claim beyond a guaranteed eye roll.

So I applied and got a place among some very bright minds, as well as some other not entirely illuminated minds but very nice people, where I nestled into the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. I was a bit smug that I had a head start on most of the others as a few of them had never even seen a script in its proper format and I owned my very own copy of Syd Field’s “Screenplay” AND I’d read it! I know: SMUG!

“Queensferry Rules”, the final piece I wrote for my MA, is about a young boxer from the North Wales border town of Queensferry, coming to terms with being Gay after he’s brutally outed by the press. I sent script out to a few places and it even got to the quarterfinals of Screencraft Fellowship 2017 competition, as well as the BBC DRAMA Writersroom 2018 long list.

And that brings us the long way round to here…

BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY I NEED TO GET EDITED AND POLISHED FOR ANOTHER, ALTHOUGH HOPEFULLY NOT MUCH LATER, TIME!

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